Late Olaitan Oyerinde
By Ike Abonyi
Details of how Olaitan Oyerinde, the Principal Private Secretary to Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, died emerged Wednesday following the decision by the State Security Service (SSS) to parade the six persons suspected to have killed him.
His death, in the run up to the governorship election in the state, generated considerable tension in the state, with Oshiomhole accusing the opposition of killing him as part of the plot to rig the poll.
In the heat of the controversy, which pitted the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), President Goodluck Jonathan had to wade into the crisis and gave the police an ultimatum to fish out Oyerinde’s killers.
However, confessions from the suspects showed that contrary to the popular perception that Oyerinde's killing was politically motivated, he was a victim of an armed robbery attack.
Parading the suspects at the SSS headquarters in Abuja, the Deputy Director, Public Relations, Marilyn Ogar, said Oyerinde was killed by the trio of Mohammed Ibrahim Abudullahi, Raymond Onajite Origbo and Chikezie Edeh.
Three other suspects, Saidu Yakubu (aka Imam), Sani Abdullahi Abubakar and Hassan Bashiru, described as habitual buyers of stolen items, were paraded along with them, apparently for receiving the items stolen from the late Oyerinde’s home.
According to Ogar, “Investigation has thus far revealed that careless statements made by one Ali Ihade, the security guard of Comrade Oyerinde, at various times about his master’s position in government, attracted the attention of the prime suspect, Mohammed Ibrahim Abdullahi, who consequently hatched a robbery operation.”
She said during the robbery, Abdullahi instructed other gang members to tie up Ihade before they entered Oyerinde's residence so that he would not see his face.
She added that Oyerinde was shot to death by Abdullahi, when he ran into his bedroom and attempted to hide underneath his bed.
Abdullahi said he shot him because he believed Oyerinde was going to fetch a gun under his bed.
Among items the robbers removed from Oyerinde's house were: four blackberry phones; one iPad; two Galaxy tablets; one laptop; a wedding ring; and an unspecified sum of money belonging to Adeyinka Oletubo, brother in-law to the deceased.
Abdullahi, 46, who hails from Gombi Local Government Area of Adamawa State, confessed to firing the shot that killed Oyeride. Origbo, 26, from Delta State, along with Edeh, 30, who is from Akugo village in Nkanu Local Government Area of Enugu State, also confessed to being part of the robbery gang.
The other three suspects – 42-year-old Yakubu, who hails from Zuru Local Government Area of Kebbi State, 35-year-old Abubakar from Gaya village in Niger Republic but born in Zamfara State and Bashiru from Bagudo Local Government Area in Kebbi State – confessed to buying the items carted away from Oyerinde’s house.
Abubakar said he bought three blackberry phones and one Nokia C5 phone from Origbo for N52, 000, which he resold at N57, 000.
Bashiru also said he bought three blackberry phones and one Nokia C5 phone from Abubakar, whom he had known for about five years.
The three guns used by the robbery suspects for the operation have also been recovered and the suspects would be handed over to the police for prosecution.
Below is the text of the suspects’ interaction with the media:
Ogar: I am letting you ask the suspects questions about their involvement in the crime.
Media: How did you get involved in armed robbery?
Suspects: No response.
Media: What did you do and why were you brought here?
Suspects: We robbed somebody in Benin
Media: Do you know Reverend ********
Media: How did you people kill Comrade Oyerinde?
Suspects: We go to rob, na rob we go, we go to the man room, no be say e dey our mind to kill am, we go to the man house and rob. No be say we go to kill am
Media: So why did you kill him?
Suspect: Na Raymond shoot inside house, when him shoot, na him just come out, when him come out, he come tell me say the man run to toilet, na him I come shoot the door.
Media: Are you really armed robbers?
Media: Who are you?
Media: Why did you kill him?
Suspects: I wasn’t the one that killed him, there was a friend that we worked together, his name is Chikezie. He called me that someone called him that we should meet, that was how we met Ibrahim. Then he took us to the man’s house that we were going there for robbery. Unfortunately, as we got there he said we should tie the gateman because he knows the gateman. Unfortunately, because I didn’t know his own intention, we tied the gateman on his head. When we went into the man’s parlour, he was lying down in the parlour, then suddenly, the man ran to his bedroom, and he said I should shoot him and I could not. As I was coming out of the house, Ibrahim now asked me what was happening and why I was running; then I said I didn’t know the intention of the man because I have not done it (shooting) before, that was how he went to the man and shot him three times.
Media: Who shot him three times?
Media: Were you sent by anybody?
Suspect: No, no
Media: You were there for what?
Media: How many people have you killed before?
Suspect: We never kill sir
Media: How many times have you robbed before?
Suspects: We robbed two times; with that one, making three.
Suspects: The rob wey we rob, na vigilante pursue us.
Media: Where do you live?
Media: Wetin be your work?
Suspect: Aluminum scrap.
Media: Who dey sponsor una guns?
Suspects: Na Imam bring am.
Questions directed at Chikezie Ebe:
Media: What is your name?
Ebe: My name is Chikezie, I am into livestock industry. I live in Urodo in Benin
Media: Tell us what happened that day?
Ebe: What actually happened was that I was deported from France, and this man, Saidu Yakubu, was the one who changed money for me when I was travelling. When I came back, he is the one who changed the remaining money for me; then I said that I wanted to start looking for work. I was at home when he called me that someone wanted to see me, that was how he introduced me to Ibrahim that I should follow him, he had something to tell us. He now told us about a robbery. I met Raymond when I was working with an aluminium company as I did meet him at site and that was how I became friends with Raymond. So I started asking him why he introduced such a thing to me, but based on what he told me that the operation was safe as the (Oyerinde) gateman said the man had money and there is a place where the was keeping the money in the house. So, when we got there, he told us to tie the gateman so that he could come in because the gateman knows him. That was how we came in. When we came in, Raymond touched the front gate and the front gate was opened, and the door to the entrance of the house was opened too. When we got into the house, we met the man’s wife lying down with a baby and the man was also lying down on the chair. We saw one other man inside and we brought him out to stay with them in the palour. When we brought him out, he got up and ran into his bedroom; that was when Ibrahim got up and shot him. Immediately he fired the shot, he ran outside and I asked him where he was going to and what was it I heard from the outside?
Media: So who shot him?
Ebe: Ibrahim, he gave description of how he shot him to the SSS in Benin.
Media: But he said he didn’t do it?
Ebe: He told the SSS in Benin how he did it.
Media: Who is the leader?
Suspect: Ibrahim. I never knew Ibrahim, it was Saidu who changed money for me that I know.
Media: Ibrahim said it was your third time, haven’t you been following them?
Ebe: Yes, the first time, civil defence people pursued us; the second time, we didn’t meet anybody and the third was when this thing happened.
Media: When and why were you deported from France?
Ebe: In 2006, because my papers were not all right.